Friday, September 25, 2009

Podcasts, Part 1: A Confession (Join Me!)

Okay, I'll confess... I am addicted.

I love podcasts. I mean really, really love 'em.

They are a big part of my daily info-hunger habit: on my morning walk/run, as I shower-N-shave, while mowing the lawn or doing other housework; they sometimes even help lull me to sleep at night.

Sure, I love nothing more than poring through traditional printed newspapers or magazines. But who's got the time?! Even scanning online articles requires focused effort.

Benefits of Podcasts

Podcasts are different. They are highly portable (via an iPod, iPhone, or other MP3 player) and can be consumed while doing other things: a perfect 21st century medium. I even listen to them on my computer as I work.

What I love most about podcasts is that they put me in control. Take National Public Radio, for example. If time were not a factor, I'd listen to NPR all day.

Podcasts to the rescue... Now, I can subscribe to a few of the NPR programs I most enjoy, pick-N-choose episodes I really want to hear, and decide -- on my terms -- when/where I want to hear them. All for free! (Though I am a regular contributor to my local station, tote bag/coffee mug and all.)

It has both revolutionized radio (an early 20th century innovation, making it again relevant) and my life.

Another motivation? For months now, I have been trying to convince a colleague (you know who you are) of the merits of podcasts -- but to no avail.

So now I'm going public.

Getting Started

Intrigued, but don't know where to start? It's actually quite simple.

Start by downloading the very latest version of Apple's iTunes software [FREE!], for Windows or Mac here: [Note: You DO NOT need to provide your email; but those "New Music Tuesday" alerts can be interesting.]

Once you've downloaded iTunes, you're ready to roll. The great thing is that is continues to be free. You do not even need an iTunes Store account to enjoy podcasts.

Just launch iTunes, click on the iTunes Store icon (left column), and start browsing the Podcast section. I could go on-and-on with further instructions, but, like other Apple innovations, you'll find it all to be fairly intuitive.

One final note of guidance: when you find a podcast of interest, simply click the "Subscribe" button. You'll be asked to confirm and you're good-to-go -- visit the "Podcasts" icon (under your LIBRARY, also in found in the left column) and see the fruits of your labor.

See this tutorial for more details:

Tips for Podcast Fans

To be continued...

NEXT UP: Several recommendations of Experience-Related podcasts.

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